Clarity sought on necessity of face masks at Kilkenny farmers' market

NOTE: This item was discussed at a meeting prior to the announcement of a Level 5 lockdown

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

Farmers' market

File pic: Cllr Dollard asked 'Should we or do we have any role in advising our stallholders to use PPE when they are about their business?'

A local councillor has queried whether the council should be telling traders at the farmer’s market on the Parade to wear face masks.

Cllr Maria Dollard raised the issue at Friday’s meeting of Kilkenny City Municipal District.

“A member of the public contacted me about the lack of use of facemasks by [some] stallholders down there,” she said.

“I’m wondering do we have any role in encouraging or advising the stallholders to use masks? This is a very serious virus, it’s really very serious.

“If we are going to facilitate a market – other businesses are putting in a huge effort with regard to sanitisation, wearing masks, putting up perspex. Businesses in the town have invested a huge amount of money – with support – but also invested a huge amount of effort to be able to provide safe places for people to be able to shop.

“What was said to me was they witnessed stallholders talking and breathing over food. It doesn’t look very good, and might put off shoppers. I suppose — with regard to other shops and businesses having to put in those measures — should we or do we have any role in advising our stallholders to use PPE when they are about their business?”

Responding, council director of services Tim Butler said when the markets opened back up during the summer, it was prior to requirements for facemasks in shops. He said stallholders had been asked to send in a Covid plan as to how they would manage crowds and on social distancing measures, and they had all done so. He also pointed out that the market was an outdoor area, and customers, for example, are not compelled to wear masks.

“Certainly, your point about the food producers wearings masks – we have contacts in the HSE, we will contact them, and if it is a recommendation we will certainly inform the stallholders that it’s a requirement,” he said.